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ACCOUNT of Books for 1780. ..
Anecdotes of Painting in England; lively talents are by the public, with some Account of the principal was unwilling, as he himself in: Artifts, and incidental Notes on forms us, “ To utter even gentle other Arts; colleEted by the late censures, which might wound the Mr. George Vertue; and now affections, or offend the prejudices, digested and published from his of those related to perfons, whom original MSS. by Mr. Horace truth forbad him to commend Walpole. Vol. 3d. and 4th. : beyond their merits. As he
could not therefore resolve, like V E are indebted to our read. most biographifts, to dispense uni
W ers a long arrear on the versal panegyric, the publieation of account of the honourable editor 'this laft volume, which contains of these memoirs. T'he two first the lives of artists in the two late volumes were published in the year reigns, though it had been long 1762: and a thort view of the written, and even printed, was compiler's plan, together with our deferred, from motives of tenderopinion of the judicious and live- nefs towards their surviving friends ly manner in which it was exe- and relations." To risk the tido cuted, were given in the Annual of popular curiosity would have Register of that date. The third been a dangerous experiment in an volume came out the following author of doubtful reputation. On year; but the account of it was the other hand, to facrifice a long deferred till the publication of the period of certain fame to the grafourth and last, which was then tification of a private satisfaction, promised, and for which we have was still lefs to be expected from waited with all the impatience, the vanity of an applauded 12that the fingular merit of the pre- vourite. But Mr. Walpole's geceding parts had, we believe, very dius and virtues make him supe. generally excited.
rior to both these considerations ; But, how much foever we may and he knows that men of truc have suffered from this delay in the taste will not less admire the begratification of our curiolity, the neficent exertions of the one, than motives that occafioned it cannot the most brilliant productions of the be sufficiently commended. Mr. other. Walpole, whose humanity and be. The first of the volumes DOW nevolence are as much admired in before us commences with the private life, as his fiue genius and reign of Charles the second. “The
arts, says this spirited writer, were innovators. The sciences have been in a manner expelled with the excommunicated, from the Gaoltics rayal family from Britain. The to Mr. Whitfield. anecdotes of a civil war are the “ The restoration of royalty history of destruction. In all ages, brought back the arts, not taste, the mob have vented their haired Charles the lid had a turn to me. to tyrants, on the pomp of tyran, chanics, but to none of the politer ny, The magnificence, the people sciences. He had learned to draw have envied, they grow to detest; in his youth. In the imperial li. and mistaking consequences for brary at Vienna is a view of the causes, the first objects of their Idle of Jersey, designed by him. fury are the palaces of their mar. But he was too indolent to amuse ters. If religion is thrown into himself. He introduced the fa the quarrel, the moit innocent arts fhions of the court of France, are catalogued with fins. This without its elegance. He had reeg was the cars in the contests be. Louis the XIV th countenance Cor. tween Charles and his parliament. neille, Moliere, and Boileau, who As he had blended affection to the forming themselves on the models sciences with a luft of power, nonof the ancients, seemed by the pu. fense and ignorance were adopted rity of their writings to bave ftuinto the liberties of the subject, died in Sparta, Charles found as Painting became idolatry, monu- much genius at home, but how ments were deemed carnal pride, licentious, how indelicate was the and a venerable cathedral seemed tile be permitted or demanded ! equally contradictory to Magna Dryden's tragedies are a compound Charta and the Bible. Learning of bombast and heroic obicenity, and wit were construed to be so inclosed in the moft beautiful numheathen, that one would have bers. If Wycherley had nature, it thought the Holy Ghost could en is nature stark naked. The paindure nothing above a pun. Wbat ters of that age veiled it but little the fury of Henry the VIlth had more. Sir Peter Lely scarce saves fpared, was condemned by the appearances but by a bit of fringe Puritans: Ruin was their harvest, or embroidery. His nymphs, ge, and they gleaned after the refor- nerally repofed on the turt, are too mers. Had they countenanced wanton and too magnificent to be any of the softer arts, what could taken for any thing but maids of those arts have represented ? How honour. Yet fantastic as his compi&turesque was the figure of an positions seem, they were pretty Anabaptift? but sectaries have no much in the dress of the times, as ostensible enjoyments; their plea- it is evident by a Puritan tract Tures are private, comfortable, and published in 1678, and intituled gross. The arts that civilize so- “ Jit and Reasonable Reprehenfions ciety, are not calculated for men of Naked Breasts and Shoulders," who mean to rise on the ruins of The court had gone a good way establithed order. Jargon and au- beyond the fathion of the precedfierities are the weapons that belt ing reign, when the gallantry in serve the purposes of herefiarcs and vogue was to wear a lock of fome
favourite ohje&t; and yet Prynne likely to make a figure in a history had thought that mode so damn- of painting."able, thai he published an absurd King William follows next piece agaiof it, called The Uirlove in order. “ This prince, he ob. Ime/s of Love locks *.
serves, like most of those in our .“ The fectaries in opposition to annals, contributed nothing to the king, had run into the ex- the advancement of arts. He was treme againit politeneis : The new born in a country where taste never court, to indemnity themselves and flourished, and nature had not mark avertion to their rigid adver- given it him as an embellishment farie', took the other extreme: of his great qualities. He courted Elegance and delicacy were the fame, but none of her minifters. point from which both sides started Holland owed its preservation to different ways; and talle was as his heroic virtue; England its li. litue fought by the men of wit, beriy to his ambition; Europe its as by those who called themselves independence to his competition the men of God. The latter with Louis the XIVth; for how. thought that to demolith was to ever wwfuccessful in the contest, reform; the others, that ridicule the very struggle was falutary. Bewas the only rational corrective; ing obliged to draw all bis re. and thus, while one party defiroyed sources from himself, and not conall order, and the other gave a tent to acquire glory by proxy, he loose to disorder, no wonder the had no leiture, like his rival, to age produced no work of art, that preside over the registers of his was worthy of being preferved by fame. He fought his own battles, pofterity. Yet in a hitiory of the instead of chooling mottoes for the arts, as in other hittories, the times medals that recorded them; and of confusion and barbarism must although my Lord Hallifax prohave their place, to preferve the miled him that his wound, in the connection, and to ascertain the ebb battle of the Boyne, and flow of genius. One likes to Ice through what clouds broke forth
Should run for ever purple in our looms, the age of Augufius."'-
bis majetły certainly did not be- The thort and tempestuous speak a fingle suit of tapestry in reign of James, lays our author, memory of the action. In Engthough he himself leems to have had land he met with nothing but dila much inclin::tion to them, afforded guits. He understood little of the linall encouragement to the arts. nation, and seems to bave acted His religion was not of a coinplexion too much upon a plan formed be. to, exclude decoration; but four fore he came over; and, however years, crouded with insurrections, neceilary to bis early fituation, prosecutions, innovations, were not litile adapted to fu peculiar a peo
* “ Arthe sale of the late Lady Worsely, about seven or eight years ago, was the porirait of che Duchess of Somerset, daughter to Robert Earl of Eilcx (Q. Elizabeth's favouriie), with a lock of her father's hair hanging on her muck, and the lock idelt was in the same auction."
pre as the English. He thought so illufirated by heroes, he observes, that valour and taciturnity would that it was not equally fortutonquer or govern tbe world, and nate in artitis. Except Kneller, vainly imagiring his new lubjects scarce a painter of note. . Weftloved liberty better than party, he miuíter. Abbey testifies there was trusted to their feeling gratitude no eminent ftatuaries. One man for a blefling, which they could there was who disgraced this period not help leeing was conferred a by bis architecture as much as he little for his own sake. Referved, enlivened it by his wit; formed unfociable, ill in his health, and to please both Auguftus and an foured by his fituation, he fought Egyptian monarch, who thought none of those amusements that nothing preierved fame like a solid make the hours of the happy much mais of lione, he produced a Rehappier. If we must except the Japse and Blenheim. Party, that palace at Hampton Court, at least sharpened ibe genius of the age, it is no monument of his taste; it dithonoured it too. A halfpenny Teems erected in emulation of what print of Sacheverel. would have it certainly was meant to imitate, been preferred to a iketch of Rathe pompous edifices of the French phael. Lord Sunderland and Lord monarch. We are told that Oxford collected books, the Duke
of Devonshire and Lord Pembroke, Great Nassau to Kneller's hand
pictures, medals, Itatues: decreed
The To fix him graceful on the bounding performance of the time.
performance of the time had little fteed.
pretentions to be adınitted into lucha
cabinets," In general I believe his majesty – The fourth volume opens with patronized neither painters nor * George the first. “ We are now poets, though he was happy in the arrived,” says Mr. Walpole, “at latter-but the case is ditferent; a the period, in which the arts weie great prince may have a Garth, a funk to the loweit ebb in Britain, Prior, a Montagu, and want Titi- From the stiffness introduced by anis a:id Vandycks, if he encou. Holbein and the Flemith walters, ragcs' neither -- You muit address who not only laboured under the yourself to a painter if you with timidity of the new art, but who to be flattered-A poet brings his faw nothing but the starch and 11incense to you. Mary seems to pliant habits of the times, we were have had little more propensity to fallen into a loole, and, if I may the arts than the king: the good use the word, a diffolute kind of queen loved to work and talk, and painting, which was not leis barcontented herself with praying to burous than the opposite extreme, God that her huibaid might be a and yet bad not the merit of rcgreat hero, tince he did not choure presenting even the dreiles of the to be a tond husband.-
age. Sir Godfrey Kueller ftill “Of tie reign of Queen Anne lived, but only in name, which he
* King William had lo little leilure to attend to, or so licile disposition to men of wil, that when St. Evremont was introduced to him, the king lain coldly, “ I ciok you was a majas-yen.ral in the French iconice."
proflituted prostituted by suffering the most in those portraits, even to the la. wretched daubings of hired subfti. dies, who lean carelelly on a bank, tutes to pass for his works, wbile and play with a parrot they do not at most he gave himself the trouble look at, under a tranquillity which of taking the likeness of the per ill accords with their seeming fitu. fon who Tat to him. His bold and ation, the flightness of their veftfree manner was the fole admira- ment and the lankness of their hair tion of his successors, who thought having the appearance of their they had caught his style, when being just risen from the bath, and they neglected drawing, probabi- of having found none of their lity, and finishing. Kneller had cloaths to put on, but a loofe exaggerated the curls of full-bot- gown. Architecture was perverted toined wigs and the tiaras of rib- to meer house-building, where it bands, lace and hair, till he had retained not a little of Vanbrugh; ftruck out a graceful kind of un- and if employed on churches, pronatural grandeur; but the succeed- duced at best but corrupt and taw. ing modes were full less favour. dry imitations of Sir Chrifiopher able to pi&turesque iinagination. Wren. Statuary fill lets deferved The babits of the time were thrunk the name of an art. to awkward coats and waistcoats The new monarch was void of for ihe men; and for the women, tafte, and not likely at an advanced to tight-laced gowns, round hoops, age to encourage the embellishand half a duzen squeezed plaits ment of a country, to which be of linen, to which dangled behind had little partiality, and with the two urmeaning pendants, called face of which he had few opporlappets, not half covering their tunities of getting acquainted; Itrait-drawn hair. Dahl, Dagar, though had he been better known, Richardson, Jervas, and others, re. he must have grown the delight of buffed with such barbarous forms, it, poilefling all that plain goodand not pofsefling genius enough bumoured fimplicity and social into deviate from what they saw into tegrity, which peculiarly diftin. graceful variations, cloathed all guithes the honest English privult their personages with a loose dra- gentleman. Like those patriots, it pery and airy mantles, which not was more natural to George the only were not, but could not be first to be content with, or eren the dress of any age or nation, to partial to whatever he found ettablittle were they adapted to cover lished, than to seek for improvethe limbs, to exbibit any form, or ment and foreign ornament. But to adhere to the person, which the arts, when neglected, always they scarce enveloped, and froin degenerate. Encouragement must which they must tall on the least keep them up, or a genias revivify motion. As those casual lappin rs them. Neither happened under the and flowing streamers were imitated first of the house of Brunswic." from nothing. they seldom have H aving finished the reign of any folds or chiaro Icuro; ana. George the first, “it is with tomy and colouring being equally complacency, says the author, I torgotten. Linen, from what arco. enter upon a more thining period boniy I linow not, is feldom allourd in the biftory of arts, upon a new